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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, May 20, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 67

May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known upon earth,
    your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
    let all the peoples praise you.

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you judge the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
    let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has yielded its increase;
    God, our God, has blessed us.
May God continue to bless us;
    let all the ends of the earth revere him. (NRSV)

“May God be gracious to us and bless us.” You may have heard this familiar phrase during the benediction at Fourth Church worship services. They are also words my daughter knows, almost by memory now, because it is part of the nightly benediction I offer her before bed. The Aaronic blessing from the book of Numbers, from which those words come, is a time-honored aspect of Jewish and Christian liturgies. It is a claim about the constancy of God’s love that is liturgically as cozy as a warm knit blanket.

But embedded within this magisterial psalm, the venerable words call us beyond our private moments of reassurance. This is not simply a message addressed to us as individuals or even as a worshiping congregation. It is for all the earth’s peoples and nations, the largest of human communities. The psalm then makes an audacious claim that the expanse of God’s love is for all of those peoples and the quality of that love includes justice, equity, and abundance.

The psalm is a plea for God’s vision of goodness to become reality for all peoples, but what I find particularly encouraging is the psalm also suggests that God is interested and active in the inner workings of nations. One way to understand this is that in guiding nations, God gives each people the gifts and tools necessary to discover the equity and joy that God promises to give. Just as God never abandons individuals, neither does the Holy One abandon a people or nation.

God of all truth and wisdom, guide our people and all peoples, that together we may realize your justice and joy in our own time and for all time. Amen.

Written by Joseph L. Morrow, Associate Pastor for Evangelism and Community Engagement

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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